A Los Angeles judge has suspended Britney Spears’ father from the guardianship that has controlled her life for 13 years, marking a major victory for the singer, who has long opposed the arrangement that has stripped her of her independence. .
In a court hearing Wednesday, Judge Brenda Penny ordered Jamie Spears’ suspension as conservator with immediate effect.
“The current situation is not sustainable,” Penny said at a court hearing, adding that the current arrangement reflects a “toxic environment.”
A certified public accountant will assume the position of temporary curator of the estate. Mathew Rosengart, Britney Spears’ attorney, requested a hearing for full termination within 30 to 45 days, saying it is necessary for the singer’s well-being.
“The conservatorship can and should be immediately canceled and rescinded, ideally this fall … Britney Spears deserves that her father leave her life as conservator today.”
The decision comes three months after the pop star first publicly pleaded for her father to retire, claiming he had been abusive and saying, “He loved control to hurt his own daughter.”
Spears was not present at Wednesday’s hearing.
Jamie Spears has vigorously fought the impeachment efforts and recently requested that the guardianship be terminated entirely, a move that Britney Spears’ attorney said was an effort “to avoid accountability and justice.”
Vivian Thoreen, Jamie’s attorney, strongly opposed her suspension during Wednesday’s contentious hearing, in which she questioned Spears’ emotional testimony in court in June, saying: “She was not questioned. Nobody knows the veracity of these statements. ” Thoreen argued that the guardianship should be terminated entirely.
The case has sparked international outrage and state and federal lawmakers are considering major reforms to the guardianship system. A huge fan-led #FreeBritney movement first drew public attention to the arrangement, and has recently held huge rallies in support of the pop star.
Fans traveled from across the country to support Spears in Los Angeles on Wednesday, and protesters closed the street in front of the courthouse for their rally.
“Today could change Britney’s life,” said Martino Odeh, 27, before the hearing. “Britney means the world to us, and I know that if we can help her come out of this fraudulent and tragic guardianship, it would mean a lot to her.”
Mona Montgomery, a 79-year-old retired attorney who arrived hours before the hearing began, said she was glad the public finally learned of the abuse of guardianship: “This information has been kept secret for so many decades.”
Spears has strongly objected to to guardianship for years, records have revealed, but she first spoke publicly in court in June. She called the arrangement “abusive” and alleged that her father and others controlled intimate details of her personal life, including her birth control, and forced her to work against her will.
A recent New York Times documentary also alleged that Jamie Spears had hired a security firm that secretly monitored his daughter’s phone, recorded their conversations in her bedroom, and monitored fans protesting to end the guardianship.
Conservatorship is a type of court-appointed guardianship for people who can no longer make decisions for themselves, usually the elderly and infirm. But critics have argued that the process can be exploited and have pointed to the Spears case as an example of such abuse.
Spears was included in the deal in 2008 as she faced apparent mental health struggles amid intense paparazzi abuse and media scrutiny. The deal gave his father control over his finances and health care, even though reports have He suggested he was largely absent from his life before the conservatorship.
Rosengart said Thoreen was fighting the suspension because Jamie Spears didn’t want to have to serve papers or face a deposition under oath. Rosengart also addressed the documentary’s surveillance allegations: “Mr. Spears and his representatives did something unfathomable, unfathomable: they eavesdropped on some of my client’s most intimate communications.”
Thoreen did not directly deny the allegations of surveillance and punctures in Spears’ bedroom, but rejected the “rhetoric” of the “television show.”